“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson



Friday, February 20, 2009

Walking with Mary Oliver in my Head and God at my feet.

"I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,..." ( The dry creek is finally filled with fresh rain, making music over the old stones.)
"...,how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day...." ( look, from the oak leaf filled ground..., new life always returns, bringing strange, transient beauty...,)
( and amazing, springing shooting stars.)
"Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your wild and precious life?"

(from part of a poem by Mary Oliver. The words in parentheses are mine.)
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vintage Thursday: Barkcloth drapes

This is my master bedroom with the new iron bed that I have wanted all my life. The old bed was from a set that we bought in 1971 and was heavy wood and very dark. I got this iron bed at Humble Abode, on line. It's the Sena bed by Wesley Allen. I can't recommend this company enough. The order was fast, they tracked the shipment, and kept us informed until it was at our door ,which is a feat in itself considering we live in the middle of nowhere. I'm soooo happy with our beautiful new bed.

Ok enough about the bed. The "Vintage" thingies, for today, are the Barkcloth drapes.

Barkcloth
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Barkcloth is a versatile material that was once common in Asia, Africa, Indonesia and the Pacific. Barkcloth comes primarily from trees of the Moraceae family, including Broussonetia papyrifera, Artocarpus altilis, and Ficus. It is made by beating sodden strips of the fibrous inner bark of these trees into sheets, which are then finished into a variety of items. Many texts that mention "paper" clothing are actually referring to barkcloth.
Another item that has been misnamed "barkcloth" is a soft, thick, slightly textured fabric so named because it has a rough surface like that of tree bark. This barkcloth is usually made of densely woven cotton fibers. Historically, the fabric has been used in home furnishings, such as curtains, drapery, upholstery, and slipcovers. It is often associated with 1950s and 1960s home fashions.

I would guess that these panels are the "misnamed" barkcloth that has been used for all kinds of home furnishings since the 30's or 40's. I have washed these panels twice, lining and all, in my washing machine, so I know they're not made of paper or bark. They are a wonderful texture that is rough but soft. The pattern and color is more muted that most "barkcloth", which is usually bright and wild with a Hawaiian flare. I have added lace curtains in between to add a valance of sorts to the panels.














I found these panels in Murphys, California. They were hanging outside on a deck in the back of an antique shop.I was in the car with my husband, looking for a parking place and I spotted them as we drove by. "Stop" I shouted. I got out and left my husband to park the car himself and ran into the little store. Sometimes you just have to be ruthless when shopping for vintage thingies. I only paid $30.00 dollars for both panels. When I look at what some of the barkcloth panels and fabric costs on Ebay, I realize that I got a really great "deal". These beautiful panel drapes are fully lined , not faded and in excellent shape. I just love them!

Please stop by Colorado Lady to see other wonderful vintage things and share some of your own.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The California Cows are not Happy

The night before last we had a wind storm. This is what we woke up to in the morning. The table on the porch was tipped over and pots were upside down. There were broken pieces of containers scattered around and everything was leaning toward the southeast. Then it started hailing..., then we had lightening and thunder( and whining from Maggie, our shepherd, because she hates thunder).
The poor old drop-leaf table was in bad shape to begin with, but this kind of abuse might be it's death blow. I think I'll just leave it on it's side because the wind has continued to blow, off and on, for two days. THE CALIFORNIA COWS ARE NOT HAPPY RIGHT NOW.
Well, look who arrived in the middle of the hail storm. Our resident Hummingbird who never goes south for the winter because we usually don't have weather like this, has been hangin' on the porch all week. He has been trying to get a sip of sugar water from the feeder. This is fun to watch because it's like watching a helicopter land on an ship in a bad storm. He waits, plans his move and then goes for the landing. He's getting very good at it. Then he hangs on for dear life, sips his fill and flies off across the canyon. I worry about him; thinking that the wind and the rain will catch him and take him down. But, he always returns. There are two of them that stayed this year. I'll bet they are saying, "Holy Cow, We could have been living in the Bougainvillea in Acapulco. What were we thinking?"
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Magic Friday Morning


On Friday morning we woke up to heavy rain and it was very cold. It got darker and darker outside until we had to turn on the lights inside the house. The lights flickered a few times and went out, but came back on right away. We turned on the local radio to see what was going on. It seems the whole county was having a really bad day.
You see, when we get ice or snow below the 2000 ft. level, the whole county shuts down. We Californians are kind of use to sunshine ( I'm sure you've seen the ads for MILK and the "happy California Cows" who run from clouds and speak with french accents.) A little ice on the roads can send us into a panic and SNOW is ,well..., a major event.
The radio was telling us that school was closed because the buses couldn't get "up country" to pick up children and all the major highways were closed because of accidents. They said that it was SNOWING in town and no one should drive around if they didn't have to.
I was expecting a friend, from Sacramento, to arrive for the weekend. I called her, but got no answer. I left a message saying that the weather was so bad she probably shouldn't drive up here. I was feeling very disappointed about this when I looked out the window and saw that it had started to SNOW.
Grabbing my trusty Nikon, I threw on a coat and went outside. This is what it looked like. Now, I don't want all of you folks back in the mid-west and east to laugh , but these pictures of snow, here, in the California foothills, are a BIG DEAL.

You need to understand, first, that I love SNOW. I have always loved SNOW and every winter for the past few years I have been down in the Bay Area when it snowed here. I have missed two or three "snow storms" because I was gone and the prospector would take pictures for me so I wouldn't feel so bad. So, this year I was here..., and it was wonderful.

Look at this! Isn't it just the loveliest frozen stuff you ever saw. (click on pictures for larger view) It makes everything so beautiful and tells you that it's Winter. This is what Winter should be like. Not dry , lifeless and dull. Not brown and warm. Winter should be cold enough to take your breath away when you walk out the door. It should show you who's boss and remind you that life needs to go dormant before it can bloom again. Winter should sparkle, and on Friday morning it did just that.

Two hours later most of the snow was gone. My friend arrived before lunch and said she had no trouble driving up here. She said that she saw some snow but no accidents and that there was more snow in some of the small towns she drove through than here. I'm so glad that she got here.
Well, I'm sure the children of this county didn't mind one bit that school was canceled. In our typical over-reaction to bad weather here, we probably gave a few folks an extra day off from their jobs and that's not a bad thing. If this rainy, windy, lots of snow in the mountains February keeps dumping on us for a while, the reservoirs will fill up and we won't have to ration water next summer. Maybe there will be less fires around the state. This would be what Martha Stewart calls A GOOD THING.
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